VR headsets or Virtual reality headsets to give them their full name have been heralded as the latest technology innovation in the gaming sphere for a couple of years. Certainly VR has been right at the top of the agenda and proclaimed as this year’s greatest innovation at the CES show in Las Vegas for the last couple of years. It didn’t really happen in 2015 but with the first orders of the Oculus Rift shifting this month and Sony PlayStation announcing further details around their VR headset, we explore whether VR really is the future
What are Virtual Reality Headsets?
Virtual reality headsets secure a display in front of your eyes (in the case of the Samsung GEAR your phone) and some kind of input which dependent on the headset make could be anything from head tracking sensors, controllers, hand tracking, voice or buttons.
The aim of VR headsets is to completely immerse the user in a virtual world that seems so real and life like that the user forgets the computer and head gear and behaves exactly how they would as if it were real.
Generally the way it works is feeds are sent to the display which sits inside the headset. Lenses also sit in-between the screen and your eyes. These are there to interact with the pixels on the display, focusing and reshaping the picture for the eyes making them more lifelike and 3D whilst also giving headsets their goggle like look and feel.
The contenders, price and availability
- The Oculus Rift is a headset that plugs into your computers USB ports and tracks your head movements to provide 3D imagery on its stereo screens. Handsets are also available to enhance your gaming experience by bringing your hands into play. The only issue being you’ll need a pretty powerful PC to run the rift.
Priced at $599
- The Playstation VR is scheduled for release in October 2016. Given that over 46 million PS4s are out there worldwide, a strong pre-Christmas push could really launch VR gaming to new levels
Priced at $399
- The HTC Vive plugs into your PC in a similar way to the Oculus Rift. Thanks to huge number of sensors (70 in total) 360 degree head tracking is possible and allows you to really immerse you in a virtual world
Priced at $799
- The Samsung GEAR headset is available now and offers ludicrous value when compared with the other VR headsets on the market. The release of the Samsung Galaxy S7 has attended to complaints that the S6’s battery wasn’t powerful enough to run the GEAR. The S7 seems to have readdressed the balance and beefed up the headsets capabilities. The phone plugs straight into the headset allowing you to immerse yourself in the world of VR. The only drawback is that you need a Samsung Galaxy S6 or above to use this headset.
Priced at $99
So can it change the future of gaming?
We’re clearly not quite at the stage where you’ll be able to jump straight into a First Person Shooters (FPS) with the ability to storm a building or make a break down the left wing in a game of FIFA. However as the Bullet train FPS developed for the Rift proves we aren’t too far away. This is definitely an exciting time to be involved with VR gaming. We predict over the next couple of years major developments. The VR headsets that get released to market will only help to drive on companies to outdo each other and release the next best thing.
The question remains whether the technology and gaming capabilities will come quick enough to match the current hype surround VR. The danger is that developments take too long, the hype ebbs away and we’ll all have moved on to the next thing.